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ABC and Fox affiliate WGGB-TV selects Crystal Vision for HD upgrade

Massachusetts-based ABC and Fox affiliate WGGB-TV has selected Crystal Vision for its transition to HD, with the supplier decision made on the products’ functionality per dollar. WGGB-TV purchased 32 boards to up convert, down convert, distribute, synchronize, delay and embed/de-embed signals, and to key logos on to on-air programming.

WGGB-TV has been broadcasting from Springfield in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts since 1953. Locally owned by Gormally Broadcasting, WGGB-TV is an affiliate for two of The Big Four US television networks: ABC and Fox. WGGB-TV broadcasts ABC programming (branded as ABC40) in High Definition and has been broadcasting Fox (known as Fox6) since 2008. WGGB-TV has its own studios in Springfield for local programming and needed to find an interface supplier for the HD upgrade of these studios, with the decision to be based on the products’ scalability, price and functionality.

WGGB-TV evaluated four interface suppliers, including its current provider. Following the detailed evaluation, WGGB-TV chose Crystal Vision because of the amount of functionality per dollar. WGGB-TV liked the fact that they could adjust the design based on the budget, with the system design actually changing after WGGB-TV engineers saw the features of the Crystal Vision boards. WGGB-TV was also pleased with the quick delivery they received.

This was the first time that WGGB-TV had used Crystal Vision products, with the order coordinated by local dealer HB Communications.

Explained Terry Beacham, Director of Engineering at WGGB-TV: “Our choice of Crystal Vision was based on functionality and the future use of the equipment. The Crystal Vision website and tools allowed us to configure a system and make changes prior to spending. The hardware is robust and provides a front panel view of critical status indicators. When we added more equipment it was received in less than a week without the need to expedite shipping. Crystal Vision has been responsive to our needs and I would recommend them without hesitation.”

WGGB-TV is using two MultiLogo V131 logo keyers – with its three layers of keying, 4 GB eight-port non-volatile video store and user-friendly control software – to add bugs to on-air programming. Two ViViD HD video delay lines are providing a bypass for the logo generators and keyers, allowing WGGB-TV to make a clean switch for logo preview and development prior to going to air.

SD sources are being up converted for HD production using five Up-and-down-A up/down/cross converters, which combines the picture quality of motion adaptive video de-interlacing with embedded audio handling. Explained Terry Beacham: “Use of the Up-and-down will allow us to re-arrange our conversion equipment as needs change – without adding new expense.”

The down conversion is being done by three Q-Down Mini minibox down converters. The Q-Down family of down converters is known for its superior picture quality, short processing delay and flexible outputs (configurable as mixtures of analog and digital), and WGGB-TV selected the standalone minibox version because it allowed them to test the signals before all the infrastructure was in place.

TANDEM HD-21 and TANDEM-110 embedders and de-embedders are being used to de-embed the audio for Dolby E processing. The multi-functional SYNNER-E HD combines a video synchronizer, tracking audio delay, embedder, de-embedder and audio processor with sophisticated Dolby E handling, and two of these boards are being used to synchronize video and audio before it goes out for distribution. Explained Terry Beacham: “The SYNNER-E HD frame syncs were easy to set up and provide clean switching on the air.”

Finally 15 3GDA105N distribution amplifiers, which can be used to distribute 3Gb/s, HD and SD sources, are feeding the HD router and production switcher and sending HD sources to the two new HD production rooms. A VDA110M HD is also being used to distribute analog video sources.

The Crystal Vision equipment is all located in the engineering room at WGGB-TV, housed in two Indigo 4SE 4RU frames. Limited space was available and so it was a real advantage that the Crystal Vision products were space-saving 4 x 10.5 inches modules, with up to 24 of them fitting in a 4RU frame. WGGB-TV selected the 4RU frames as they allow room for expansion, while the amount of cooling in the Crystal Vision frames was also considered a plus. Control and configuration is being done using the Statesman PC control software.

The Crystal Vision boards are already in use on all programming out of the station at WGGB-TV.

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers, picture storage modules and a full range of digital and analogue interface equipment including converters, synchronizers, distribution amplifiers and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.